Writer – Steve Orlando
Artist – Ryan Sook & Cary Nord
With every Wednesday comes another haul of your long-time favorite comics being released that have been on your pull list for years. Then you have the big events and you scramble to get all the books so you don’t miss a beat. It leaves you every Thursday with a big pile of comics and a lighter wallet. So you’d be forgiven if you didn’t want or couldn’t add another book to your read list. That is how I felt as I looked through the June DC Solicitations until I saw the cover for The Unexpected #1.
The bright colors and instantly distinctive characters drew me in. Now I was a little put off by the DARK KNIGHT METAL logo. I haven’t read any of METAL yet and was worried that I wouldn’t have the full story, but I still decided to pick up the book.
With most of the new books released today, they’re still usually filled with either old characters (i.e. brand-wide renumbering) or at least familiar themes (i.e. Spider-Gwen or X-Men Red/Blue/Gold). It seems rare these days that the ‘big 2’ brings out a comic that is full of new characters. Now ‘new’ could be seen as a bit of a stretch, as the some of the heroes have a familiar vibe to them. When you think off all the superheroes out there and their powers, you’d imagine it’d be hard to make up an original one but the main character, Firebrand, has enough originality to her powers and backstory to feel at least refreshing,
While these characters feel new and interesting. I felt like something was missing. When you read comics like Batman or Spider-Man, both rich with history, you feel like you know the characters and have an invested commitment in their stories. Reading new characters is kind of like meeting new people, you don’t really know them so you’re not sure how you feel about them.
The book starts with Janet Fals, fighting and drinking in a bar. Janet/Firebrand powers comes from her being bonded with the conflict engine and she has to regularly fight to stay alive. The next day, whilst at work as a nurse she is attacked by Quench, an alien who looks like a Vegas casino reject. He’s there to take the conflict engine but during their fight Neon, Viking Judge, and Ascendant arrive to protect her. During the battle, the V.A hospital where Janet works begins to collapse and they must work together to get the patients to safety when an explosions goes off. Far away on Thanagar, we see a reptilian henchman explain to his boss about the fight, Firebrand and how during the explosion, the conflict engine created a new substance that could feed him forever.
Will I be buying anther issue? Yes, this issue has done enough for me to put it on my pull list. With bright and dramatic art, the characters are appealing enough and looking forward to finding out more. I have put away my hesitations for now and will at least buy the first few issues to see where the writers take the story.